Sunday 4 April 2021

What can we learn from the 'eternal' rose idea?

When I came across the 'eternal' or 'infinity' rose concept, I immediately thought of Beauty & the Beast. In the story, the rose kept dying and losing petals unless the Beast learned how to love. If he failed, he would remain a beast forever. Only if he knew that he could preserve a rose for at least a year thanks to science. 

You may have heard of an 'eternal' or 'infinity' rose that will keep looking 'alive' for (drumroll) more than a year. The name 'eternal' rose is slightly misleading; however, it does not make it less cool. 

I got mine as a birthday gift and was so impressed with the concept that I decided to share it with you (and show off a little). 

How are the roses preserved?

Today, there are several methods on how to preserve roses. Most of them are based on glycerin with oils or chemical compositions with grafting wax when the sap is replaced by a natural wax-based substance. Some methods are more successful in keeping the original rose's smell than the others. The latter is solved by adding unique oil fragrances. 

The long-lasting roses come primarily in boxes because of the preservation method, which cuts most of the stem. Thanks to the preservation process, the roses can come in many colours. The roses can soak in preservatives as well as colourants. 

Where did the idea for long-lasting roses come from? 

Venus et Fleur flower shop in New York got quite a publicity for the 'eternal' rose. They may be considered as the innovators of long-lasting roses by some. 

The owners, Seema Bansal & her husband Sunny Chadha, did one more thing very right; they shared the story of how they started their flower business. Sunny ordered flowers to Seema for Valentine's Day, but the delivered flowers' quality was too poor. That is when they decided to start a luxury rose atelier of superb quality in 2015. 

Important lesson: If you are thinking about starting a business, make sure to write up a great story that is memorable and relatable. 

You may notice that they shared the story of how they started the flower business but not necessarily how they came up with the idea of an 'eternal' rose. They also kept their preservation methods a secret. 

Some searching brought me to a patent for a 'Method for preserving flowers particularly roses' filed in 1990. The patent was submitted by Lars E. Sellegaard and extended all the way until 2010. In 2010 the patent expired, and so did the protection to use the idea by the others. What is more, the patent includes full details on how to preserve roses (together with the smell!). You can view the patent on how to preserve roses here

Important lesson: Getting your hands on an expired patent is also one way to get to some fantastic innovation.  

Where can you get your eternal or infinity rose? 

We do not know if the Venus et Fleur floral business used the recipe from the 1990 patent or created their own. We are not even sure if they were the first business that started selling 'eternal' roses. What we do know is that today, there are many similar businesses all around the world. 

As the competition increased, so did various price-points. You can buy your flowers at some luxury shops such as Venus et Fleur, La Fleur Bouquets (that claim to last for years!), Amarante London, Eternal Fleur, Eternal Roses New York and many others. These will cost you around $250 - $299 per 12 - 18 roses.

If you are after some more reachable options, you can check out quite a variety on Mine 'preserved' box of roses with 18 rosebuds was $99 with free shipping within the U.S. On the other hand, this type did not keep the rose smell.  

Is it worth it to get a long-lasting rose?

If you wonder if it is better to get the 'real' roses instead of 'eternal' roses, here is something to consider. Depending on where you are located, 12 - 18 roses can cost somewhere between $50 - 80. A usual bouquet lasts for about a week. The 'eternal' roses are between $99 - $300 for about 18 roses and last for more than 52 weeks. (That is about $2 - $6 per week of beautiful petals!) 

Another plus is that you can order them online in a durable box ahead of time and keep them ready for the special occasion. No more last-minute sprints to flower shops. If your girl or mum are flower lovers and into house decor, this may be the perfect gift for them. On the other hand, if they like simple surfaces, the box of flowers may be one extra item to dust off.

Finally, you may hit a jackpot with a nerdy girl, who gets so excited about the science of the 'eternal' rose, ending up researching its science and patens for the whole afternoon (as I did). 

Can you make a long-lasting rose at home?

You can preserve roses at home. The most common methods use silica gel (the same thing that keeps your chips crispy) or wax dipping. The first method is very inexpensive in comparison with the 'eternal' roses. However, the roses do not keep their entirely fresh look. There are a few recipes on YouTube you may want to check out. 

Can you make eternal roses your own business? 

As we learned today, most of the current long-lasting rose businesses did not come up with the idea themselves. It may not be a coincidence that these roses started to spring up like mushrooms after the patent expiration. 

Discovering expired patents is one of the ways to get your hands on some fantastic ideas. The other option is modifying and innovating an existing idea. The modification needs to be substantial enough to avoid patent infringement. This is under the assumption that such a patent even exists. If a patent doesn't exist, it does not mean that you can just copy whichever idea you come across. 

Important lesson: Always focus on adding value to existing ideas. 

The critical question you need to ask is: What else can I substantially improve? This will lead you to the following question: What are the current issues with the concept? 

Get your hands on some long-lasting roses from several suppliers to test them for yourself. Don't stop there; ask your family and friends for their views. What would they improve? A cost-effective option is reading reviews, e.g. on sites such as Amazon and checking especially the negative ones.

Finally a few words from Seema Bansal: “Be open to learning; take advantage of every learning opportunity. Learn from those you aspire to be like…”

Happy Innovating!


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